What is curriculum decolonisation?
There are many different definitions of decolonisation.
The decolonising movement within higher education focuses on deconstructing power relations that lie within teaching, learning and assessment. It's of paramount importance to acknowledge the impact of coloniality on university culture and to focus on efforts to open up the academy so that students, lecturers and researchers are able to engage with multiple other perspectives, in addition to Euro-American knowledge and methodologies.
As an explainer, Dr Lwazi Lushaba from the University of Cape Town introduces what is meant by a decolonised education.
At NTU, there is an increasing number of researchers and academics who are engaging with decolonial practices, with many teaching staff now starting to consider how they might decolonise their modules.
In support the library is actively identifying ways we can help staff with the process and the University’s wider decolonisation agenda. The library has purchased over 13,000 new titles to expand resources for black, disability, gender and sexuality studies.
Resources to support curricula decolonisation
These external resources, which include videos and podcasts, can be used to introduce yourself to the importance of curricula decolonisation and to familiarise yourself with current movements and debates taking place within higher education.
- A practical guide on how to begin decolonising the curriculum (Times Higher Education)
- Curricula Decolonisation: A suggested reading list by Dr Deanne Bell
- Dr Monica Chavez explains her use of a decolonising the curriculum toolkit (YouTube)
- A variety of books and articles focusing on Decolonising University
Discipline-specific resource lists
For subject specific resources click on the link to your School, where you will find a variety of guides and case studies around decolonisation. If you would like to add further titles, please email your recommendations to email@example.com.
Please note, staff will need to sign in using their online NTU accounts to access these resources.
Critical questions for discipline-specific resource lists
The Centre for Academic Development and Quality have designed a series of critical questions to be use alongside the resource lists to support the process of curricula decolonisation. Asking yourself these questions will help you engage effectively with the material.
- Have I made efforts towards understanding the global and local impact of colonisation and decolonisation, coloniality and decoloniality?
- What are my assumptions and biases about knowledge and power?
- Have I reflected on my positionality and power dynamics within my discipline, teaching and wider communities?
- What overall do I hope to gain by engaging with the discipline-specific resource lists?
Further critical questions to ask yourself:
- Have I further developed my own understanding?
- Have I explored new resources to include in my module/course reading lists?
- Am I exploring how I can bring the topic of coloniality and decoloniality into my teaching, discourse and content?
- Am I increasing my confidence in talking and teaching about coloniality and decoloniality within my discipline?
- How has colonialism and eurocentrism shaped my understanding of the world and my education practice?
- How has colonialism shaped knowledge production and power relations within my discipline?
- Can you identify areas of your curriculum and teaching practices that could perpetuate coloniality?
- What are the lived experiences and perspectives of the students and communities I work with?
- Have I reflected on my positionality and power dynamics of working with these students and communities?
- Am I collectively working towards dismantling hierarchies of difference?
- Am I reflecting, critically thinking and engaging in pedagogical praxis?
Ahmed, S., 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. London: Duke University Press.
Freire, P., 2018. Pedagogy of the oppressed 50th anniversary edition. 4th ed. Boston, Massachusetts: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Hooks, B., 1994. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.
Maldonado-Torres, N., 2016. Outline on Ten Theses on Coloniality and Decoloniality [online]. Available at: https://fondation-frantzfanon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/maldonado-torres_outline_of_ten_theses-10.23.16.pdf.
Maldonado-Torres, N., 2007. On the coloniality of being: Contributions to the development of a concept. Cultural Studies [online], 21 (2-3), 240–270. 10.1080/09502380601162548.
This year the library launched a new campaign called Hidden Voices in a bid to find the ‘unsung heroes’ in different subject areas whose voices have not been heard.
We invited staff and students to take part by sharing articles and books you have read, written by authors from a diverse or historically marginalised* background. These would then be added to the library collection. The library aims to develop the collection, moving away from the mainstream voices, to reflect the diversity that is in today’s society.
As the campaign has now come to an end, we would like to share with you those Hidden Voices as chosen by you. This collection will continue to be added to over time
Look out for the relaunch of Hidden Voices in January 2024.
*Groups of people who have experienced discrimination and exclusion due to various social, political, and economic factors and been given little or no importance in society.
Advice and guidance
The Library Learning and Teaching Team can provide tailored support for staff looking for further information about decolonising their resource lists. Please contact your Learning and Teaching Librarian / Advisor who will be able to help you find a diverse range of sources: firstname.lastname@example.org.